Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To everyone according to her – what?

An article in Pacific Standard, the standard-bearer of pop (social) science, decries “The Hidden Sexism Lurking Behind the Pay Gap.” The teaser beneath clarifies the point: “Let’s stop arguing about how much of the pay gap is due to women’s choices. Those choices are often products of sexism hidden from view.” And what is wrong, for that matter, with women – or men, or those adopting any gender-non-conformist self-definitions – not choosing career paths which require mechanical drudgery, manipulating complex algorithms and abstractions, taking incalculable risks with imaginary “investment” vehicles, bossing underlings in the service of ethically dubious ends, etc.? And isn’t the bigger problem hidden in the vastly disparate rewards bestowed by the market upon more and less humane or caring service functions – to the point of sometimes rewarding socially destructive profit maximization? This is, at least, what British liberal theorist Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse was asking 100 years ago – but such utopian musings have now gone the way of openly professed “social Darwinism.” So all that is left is for everyone to get a shot at climbing as high as humanly possible on the existing socioeconomic food-chain – or ladder, if a less laden concept is in order.